Color me responsive: 4 ways color impacts success

Direct marketing color in design is a complex thing. What is lovely and works elsewhere in the general world of design can seem to be the kiss of response death in our niche where making measurable sales is the ultimate determination of “beauty.” That often means an emphasis on “response inducing” primary colors that are hard to miss in direct mail, email, print, and other media. And yet…more and more we are seeing client branding changes that reflect the softer, more elegant tones that are popping up elsewhere in the visual culture (fashion, the arts, home design, et al).

Pantone, the arbiter and creator of palettes, has declared 2016 to be the year of Rose Quartz and Serenity, two related colors.

“Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times,” Pantone says.

They have also recommended pairings of the shades thusly:

“Whether in soft or hard surface material, the pairing of Rose Quartz and Serenity brings calm and relaxation. Appealing in all finishes, matte, metallic and glossy, the engaging combo joins easily with other mid-tones including greens and purples, rich browns, and all shades of yellow and pink. Add in silver or hot brights for more splash and sparkle.”

(The inclusion of “hot brights” is music to our ears as direct marketers.)

Here are the pairings, for the Rose Quartz-curious:


All this is making us rethink our conventional thoughts. After all, isn’t “breakthrough” the goal—and part of that is breaking a few rules, right?

So, here are four ways we see color impacting success in the current new color scene:

  1. Repositioning brand. Today, softer ideas are taking hold, whether it’s yoga, acceptance of others’ differences, multiculturalism, and the concept of “chilling.” Many brands are reacting by reflecting the blending of people and ideas—resulting in softer colors as part of their corporate identity.
  2. Whispering instead of screaming. In a sea of printed primary color materials, would a softer palette piece stand out? It’s worth a test.
  3. Appealing to niche targets. In certain areas of health care marketing, a softer, calmer approach has some merit. Speaking to chronic disease sufferers, for instance, seems a reasonable place to incorporate sensitive design.
  4. Mixing it up. With Pantone’s tacit approval of “hot brights”, we feel permitted to blend away. Softer shades plus strong and bold primaries could prove to be a power combo.

What colors are you using these days?

Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


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